Rapper, actor and former Bill Cosby sidekick Mos Def is to release his latest album on a t-shirt. The Ecstatic will be downloadable with a special code when you buy the garment.
The t-shirt features the album cover on the front, a tracklisting on the back, and a code on the tag to download the actual music. The idea began with a $60 (£36) compilation mix t-shirt by LnA clothing, Downtown Music and Invisble DJ, who are now stitching up The Ecstatic. It'll be available on 7 July for $40 (£25), or you can listen now at myspace.com/mosdef.
We think it's a great idea. Digital music has freed artists from the shackles of the physical form, which means you can package your album however you like. Mr Def may be the biggest name to get shirty, but he's not the first: last year, neon quirkpopsters Of Montreal released the Skeletal Lamping long-player [Spotify link] in the form of a CD, vinyl LP, tote bag, t-shirt, badge set, paper lantern and wall decal set. Each nifty-gifty set included the download of the album itself, and a giant poster of a psychedelic horse.
Meanwhile, Tool drummer Josh Freese offered a range of packages with his Since 1972 album: $7 got you a CD, $50 got you the CD and five minutes on the phone with Josh, and if you spend $75,000 Josh gives you his drum kit, puts together a five-song EP about your life and becomes your personal assistant for a month. And the CD.
Even if you do stick to the CD format, you can even leave out the music, as Danger Mouse proved recently. We'd love to see more of these avatars: physical representations of a virtual album. Pete Fowler's vinyl toys for the Super Furry Animals, Green Day Converse shoes, David Bowie coloured contact lenses, Black-Eyed Peas toilet roll... this could catch on.